Wolverines lose footing at Bishop Manogue
Three fumbles, four interceptions and a enough yellow penalty flags in the first half to catch a pilot’s attention at 30,000 feet was too much for Truckee to contend with against state favorite Bishop Manogue in a 38-19 loss Saturday.
With only one game left, a home game against last place rival North Tahoe, there were major playoff implications for both Truckee, 6-1 in league (6-2 overall) and Manogue, 7-0 in league (7-0 overall).
“We turned the ball over and they jumped up to an early lead and our kids found out that we could actually play with them a little bit,” coach Bob Shaffer said. “But we can’t turn the ball over (seven) times against a team like Manogue and expect to win. It isn’t going to happen.”
The Miners got on the board first with a 20-yard field goal 2:53 into the first quarter. On Manogue’s next possession, running back Matt Virden spun out of a couple loose tackles and went 68 yards for a touchdown. With a missed extra point, the Miners were up 9-0.
Truckee wasn’t helping themselves much when the turnovers started early. Quarterback Kevin Schlesinger was picked off by Miner Matt Lucero at Truckee’s 40 and returned to the 11-yard line. That set up a five-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter on a sweep by Alex Bybee, making the score 16-0.
Truckee’s next drive began to look as sour, but Jason Ames took the snap on a fake punt and ran the ball 21 yards to the Manogue 21-yard line, breathing new life into Truckee’s offense. On fourth and goal on the one, Nick Smith got the nod and found the hole for Truckee’s first score of the game.
But the score was short-lived, as Virden ran 61 yards on Manogue’s next possession for a touchdown plus a two-point conversion, and made the score 24-7.
Truckee pulled off another fake punt with a 23-yard pass to Jamie Maehler to put the ball on the 31-yard line. Then a 23-yard pass on fourth and six set up a three-yard TD plunge by Jason Ames, closing the gap, 24-13.
With 3:45 left in the third quarter, Manogue got another long TD run, to go up 31-13.
But Shaffer still had a card or two up his sleeve. Defensive end Nate Engblom blocked a punt and outside linebacker Robby Beno scooped up the loose ball and ran 62 yards for the end zone, bringing the score up to 31-19 with the failed two-point conversion with 1:19 left in the third. It was Beno’s first touchdown, ever.
“I thought that it was going to kind of get the team going,” he said. “Maybe we could pull it out.”
But that was the end of the scoring for the Wolverines. Halfway through the fourth, Higgins ran 19 yards into the end zone for the Miners’ final score, 38-19.
The game ended with the fourth and final Schlesinger interception of the game, as the Miners walked off the home field with first place in Northern 3A and Truckee having to settle for second.
For now, anyway.
“I think now that we’ve seen them play and we realized all the crap that everyone is saying about how good they are isn’t really all that true, I think we’ll be ready to step it up and take it to them (in the playoffs),” Beno said.
The turnovers, injuries and early scoring were responsible for the tough loss.
“First of all, you can’t spot Manogue 10 points and when you are moving the ball, you can’t turn it over six times and expect to win,” Shaffer said. “That’s hard to do against a bad team, let alone a good team.”
Juan Aguilar broke his arm and is out for the season. Defensive end Travis Kramer, who missed the first half of the season because of injury, and guard Kevin Finn are hurt and probable for Saturday’s season finale. Maehler and running back Jimmy Williams are both hurt but will be full speed by Saturday.
Linebacker Ado Serna said he had his best game against the Miners, despite giving up 282 total rushing yards.
“They were pretty easy to read but they have a big line, they do their job,” linebacker Ado Serna said. “Sometimes I read pretty good and I was right there, but there were sometimes where I really messed up and I just wasn’t able to beat them.”
“It’s hard to win with seven turnovers in a game,” Schlesinger said. “But we’re looking forward to playing them again.”
The two teams are likely opponents for the state title game. Both beat Spring Creek, the third place team in the north and as far as the south is concerned they only have four teams and a definite lack of competition that may show itself in the playoffs.
“We got a team right now, but we need to work on some stuff and we’re good to go,” Jamie Maehler said.
The junior varsity squad didn’t come out of their game with any better results, losing 55-14. They suffered from seven turnovers as well- the first four possessions resulted in four fumbles and 21 Bishop Manogue points. The main strike was Manogue’s running game.
Manogue’s Kenny Viser rushed for 455 yards and seven touchdowns all by himself.
That should be criminalized.
Truckee was still able to pump out 396 offensive yards as Lupe Lopez had 109 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown and quarterback Paul Tienery went 12 of 20 for 187 yards.
The Freshman squad did the best of the three, but still fell short, 34-25. Truckee was flat the first half, but came out in the third quarter with an onside kick that led to two touchdowns.